Kortryk / Kortrik  (West Flemish)

Courtrai  (French)
Broel Towers along the river Lys in Kortrijk
Broel Towers along the river Lys in Kortrijk
Kortrijk is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Location of Kortrijk in West Flanders
Coordinates: 50°50′N 03°16′E / 50°50′N 03°16′E / 50.833; 3.267(2018-01-01)[1]
 • Total76,265
 • Density950/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
Postal codes
85xx (8500, 8501, 8510, 8511)

Kortrijk (k/ KORT-ryke, Dutch: [ˈkɔrtrɛik] (About this soundlisten); West Flemish: Kortryk or Kortrik; French: Courtrai [kuʁtʁɛ]; Latin: Cortoriacum), also known in English as Courtrai or Courtray[2][3] (/ TRAY), is a Belgian city and municipality in the Flemish province of West Flanders.

It is the capital and largest city of the judicial and administrative arrondissement of Kortrijk. The wider municipality comprises the city of Kortrijk proper and the villages of Aalbeke, Bellegem, Bissegem, Heule, Kooigem, Marke, and Rollegem. Kortrijk is also part of the cross-border Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai metropolitan area.[4][5]

The city is on the river Leie, 42 km (26 mi) southwest of Ghent and 25 km (16 mi) northeast of Lille. Mouscron in Wallonia is just south of Kortrijk.[6]

Beguinage of Kortrijk

Kortrijk originated from a Gallo-Roman town, Cortoriacum[7], at a crossroads near the Leie river and two Roman roads. In the Middle Ages, Kortrijk grew significantly thanks to the flax and wool industry with France and England and became one of the biggest and richest cities in Flanders. The city is often referred to as City of Groeninge or City of the Golden Spurs, referring to the Battle of Courtrai or the Battle of the Golden Spurs which took place on 11 July 1302 on the Fields of Groeninge in Kortrijk. In 1820 the Treaty of Kortrijk was signed, laying out the still-current borders between France and Belgium. Throughout the 19th and 20th century, the flax industry flourished and remains important within the Belgian textile industry today.

Kortrijk is the largest city in southern West Flanders, with several hospitals, colleges and a university. Kortrijk was the first city in Belgium with a pedestrian shopping street, the Korte Steenstraat.



The Roman name Cortoriacum[8] meant in Latin, the settlement near the curb in the river.[citation needed] There is also mention of 'Cortoracum' in some literature. Its name later evolved to 'Cortrycke', 'Cortryck' and 'Kortrijk' (19th Century). The French call it Courtrai.

Origins Roman times

Findings from an archeological dig in 1950 in which remains of three Roman funeral pyres were found[9] suggest that the vicus was used as an encampment by the Romans during their invasion of Britain in 43 CE.

Cortoriacum was a larger Gallo-Roman vicus of civitas Menapiorum at an important crossroads near the Lys river of the Roman roads linking Tongeren and Cassel and Tournai and Oudenburg. It was first mentioned in a document from the 4th or 5th century called Notitia Dignitatum where the Cortoriacenses (Cavalry)Troops were mentioned. In the 9th century, Baldwin II, Count of Flanders established fortifications against the Vikings. The town gained its city charter in 1190 from Philip, Count of Flanders. The population growth required new defensive walls, part of which can still be seen today (the Broeltorens, Armory, Kortrijk). Several local places still refer to physical parts of the defensive structures around Kortrijk (Walle, Waterpoort, Menenpoort, Gentsepoort, Brugsepoort, Kasteelkaai); Most of the physical parts have been overbuilt or destroyed.

The second castle of Kortrijk

In the 13th century, the battles between Fernando of Portugal, Count of Flanders and his first cousin, King Louis VIII of France, led to the destruction of the city. The Counts of Flanders had it rebuilt soon after. To promote industry and weaving in the town, Joan, Countess of Flanders exempted settlers in Kortrijk from property tax.[10] From that time, Kortrijk gained great importance as a center of linen production.

Battle of the Golden Spurs

In 1302, the population of Bruges started a successful uprising against the French, who had annexed Flanders a couple of years earlier. On 18 May the French population in that city was massacred, an event that could not go unpunished. The famous ensuing Battle of Courtrai in 1302, also known as the Battle of the Golden Spurs (Dutch: Guldensporenslag), between the Flemish people, mostly commoners and farmers, and Philip the Fair’s knights took place near Kortrijk on 11 July, resulting in a victory for Flanders;[11] the date is now commemorated as a national holiday by the whole Flemish community.

Following a new uprising by the Flemish in 1323, this time against their own Count Louis I, the French invaded again. These Flemish acquisitions were consolidated by the French at the Battle of Cassel (1328).

Louis I’s son Louis II lost the city to a Flemish uprising led by Philip van Artevelde in 1381, but the Flemish were later decisively defeated at the 1382 Battle of Roosebeke by Louis II with French support, resulting in a new wave of plundering and destruction.

15th century to modern times

Most of the 15th century was prosperous under the Dukes of Burgundy, until the death of the Burgundian heiress, Mary of Burgundy, in 1482, which ushered in renewed fighting with France.

The 16th century was marked by the confrontations engendered by the Reformation and the uprising of the Netherlands against Spain.

Louis XIV’s reign saw Kortrijk occupied by the French five times in sixty years and its former fortifications razed. The Treaty of Utrecht finally assigned the whole area to Austria.

After the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era, the textile industry, based on flax, and the general economy of the city could finally prosper again.

Kortrijk was heavily bombed in the summer of 1917, but was liberated by the British Army the following year. During World War II the city was an important railway hub for the German army, and for this reason was the target of several allied air-strikes. On 21 July 1944 (the Belgian National Day) around 300 Avro Lancasters dropped over 5,000 bombs on the city center.[12] Many historical buildings on the central square, as well as the old railway station, were destroyed.

Battle of Courtrai

Battles fought there in 1302, 1580, 1793, 1794, 1814, 1815, and 1918 have each been called Battle of Courtrai

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kortrijk
العربية: كورتريك
aragonés: Contrai
asturianu: Kortrijk
беларуская: Кортрэйк
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Кортрэйк
български: Кортрейк
bosanski: Kortrijk
brezhoneg: Kortrijk
català: Kortrijk
čeština: Kortrijk
Cymraeg: Kortrijk
dansk: Kortrijk
Deutsch: Kortrijk
eesti: Kortrijk
Ελληνικά: Κόρτρεϊκ
español: Cortrique
Esperanto: Kortrejko
euskara: Kortrijk
فارسی: کورتریک
français: Courtrai
Frysk: Kortrik
Gaeilge: Kortrijk
galego: Courtrai
հայերեն: Կորտրեյկ
hrvatski: Kortrijk
Bahasa Indonesia: Kortrijk
íslenska: Kortrijk
italiano: Courtrai
עברית: קורטרייק
Kiswahili: Kortrijk
Кыргызча: Кортрейк
Latina: Cortoriacum
latviešu: Kortreika
lietuvių: Kortreikas
Limburgs: Kortrijk
lumbaart: Courtrai
magyar: Kortrijk
Bahasa Melayu: Kortrijk
Nederlands: Kortrijk
norsk: Kortrijk
norsk nynorsk: Kortrijk
occitan: Courtrai
Plattdüütsch: Kortrijk
polski: Kortrijk
português: Courtrai
română: Kortrijk
русский: Кортрейк
Scots: Kortrijk
Simple English: Kortrijk
slovenčina: Kortrijk
српски / srpski: Кортрајк
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kortrijk
suomi: Kortrijk
svenska: Kortrijk
татарча/tatarça: Кортрейк
Türkçe: Kortrijk
українська: Кортрейк
اردو: کورٹریک
Tiếng Việt: Courtrai
Volapük: Kortrijk
West-Vlams: Kortryk
Winaray: Kortrijk
粵語: 哥積克
中文: 科特赖克